Journal Article

The Secularization of Religion and Television Commercials

Brendan Maguire and Georgie Ann Weatherby

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 59, issue 2, pages 171-178
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712079
The Secularization of Religion and Television Commercials

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Secularization theory had a privileged status within sociology for many decades. Recently, this theory has been challenged on a number of grounds. Specifically, researchers have argued that religion is not on the wane in modern society, but that it is an increasingly central and influential feature of contemporary social life. Hence, there is a debate within the sociology of religion concerning the viability of secularization theory. Findings from the present project, a content analysis of 797 television commercials^ show that religious symbolism is rarely featured by television advertisers. Only 16 out of 797 commercials contained religious or spiritual content. As discussed in the paper, this finding can be interpreted in various ways with regard to the present status of secularization theory.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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